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Best car phone mounts 2021: tested and rated

Included in this guide:

iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Finding the best car phone mount can be the difference between finding your destination and missing the first concert you’ve been able to go to since the pandemic started. It might seem extreme, but keeping your phone’s navigation app in view, but out of your eye line, isn’t as easy as it might first seem.

Choosing the best car phone holder for your own vehicle is simultaneously simple and difficult, depending on how complicated you want to make it. These holders tend to fall into three categories; those that attach to air vents, those that stick to surfaces like dashboards and windows, and then ‘the others.’ That last category includes the oddities — those holders that clip to things or sit in cup holders, for example.

That range of requirements and preferences is what can make recommending the ‘best’ holder so difficult, because what’s best for you might not be best for me. That being said, some holders are just objectively bad. But don’t worry, they’ve already been culled from our list.

All of this said, one of the best holders we’ve tested is the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount. The name is  a mouthful, but it’ll fit in any car with a CD player and kept an iPhone 12 Pro firmly in place. At $20, it isn’t a costly option, either.

Another solid option is the TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount. This holder sits in a spare cup holder and has a long neck to try and put your phone close enough that you won’t be looking too far down to see it. You’ll lose a cup holder though, so that’s something to consider.

If you'd rather your mount had a firm grip on your phone, and charges it up in the process, then the SandMarc Active Car Mount, which offers MagSafe-compatible charging that would be perfect for anyone who has an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13.

Of course if you need something simple, then the Belkin Car Vent Mount is a great option to choose. Not only does it work with pretty much every phone out there, it also comes with built-in cable management to help keep your dash board tidy.

Below are the best phone holders we’ve tested — and we’ve tested a lot! There will be something to suit everyone here, but if not, be sure to check back later — new holders are being tested all the time.

TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount

For people who don’t want to stick something to their car.

Specifications
Price: $33
Wireless Charging: No
Color: Black
Orientation: 360-degree
Compatabiulity: Phones up to 3.5 inches wide
Type: Cup holder
Reasons to buy
+The mount can be rotated into portrait and landscape+Keeping the mount away from air vents is always a good idea, especially on particularly cold or hot days+It’s easy to insert your phone into the mount and just as easy to take it back out, too
Reasons to avoid
-You’ll lose a cup holder-Some car layouts might simply make this mount impractical-This mount isn’t great to look at when you aren’t using it

Using a cup holder isn’t the most obvious place to keep your phone mount, but it works surprisingly well. Thanks to its long neck and sturdy construction, this holder will position your phone high enough so it’s easy to see while keeping it out of your field of vision. Because you should be concentrating on the road.

Like all good phone holders, the TOPGO can be rotated to put your phone into portrait or landscape mode — perfect for sat nav apps in particular. The phone itself is held by three points and there’s little chance of it moving unless you want it to. The holder can jiggle around a little when on bumpy roads, but that’s difficult to avoid given the way this thing works.

The benefits of putting your phone holder into a cup holder are obvious: You don’t lose an air vent or have to deal with suction cups, and damn near every car has cup holders as standard. You’ll lose a place for your skinny latte of course, but that’s the price you pay for not being too hot or cold or worrying that your phone will fall at any moment.

Read the full TopGo Cup Holder Phone mount review

iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount

Putting your neglected CD player to good use

Specifications
Price: $20
Wireless Charging: No
Color: Black
Orientation: 360-degree
Type: CD Slot
Reasons to buy
+The mount can be rotated into portrait and landscape+Using a CD player slot means you don’t lose an air vent or have to make sure it’s mounted firmly on your dashboard+The mount is strong and doesn’t move when you tap or rotate your phone
Reasons to avoid
-Not all cars have CD players-People who need to use the included Bracket might have a battle on their hands-No charging capabilities

We’ve tested a lot of phone holders and the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount is one of our favorites for a simple reason — it takes that CD player that you likely never use and puts it to work. It also means that you don’t lose an air vent or cup holder, which is handy. On top of that, the design means that the holder almost disappears when you aren’t using it — which isn't something you can say about some of the holders on the market today.

Installation of the Easy One Touch 4 mount is as simple as could be for the most part. Slide the mount where a CD would normally go, pull a clip that expands the mount to fill the slot, and you’re good to go. Those with extra-large CD slots have a little extra work to do, but not so much that the installation is a pain.

Once set up, your phone isn’t going anywhere and the chances are good that your CD slot will be high enough that your screen is never more than a quick glance away. If you don’t use your CD player — who does? — you can leave the mount installed and you won’t even notice it’s there. Magic.

Read the full iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount review

Belkin Car Vent Mount review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Belkin Car Vent Mount

The simple option.

Specifications
Price: $25
Wireless Charging: No
Color: Silver
Orientation: 360-degree
Type: Vent
Reasons to buy
+The mount can be rotated into portrait and landscape mode+Construction is solid and will stand up to daily use+Cable management is a feature other mounts don’t have+Nice soft grips mean your phone won’t be damaged
Reasons to avoid
-There are cheaper options-The mount doesn’t charge your device-Some larger phones might not fit if they’re wearing a case

Mounts that attach to a car’s air vents seem to be all the rage right now and one of the best is Belkin’s imaginatively named Car Vent Mount. It isn’t the cheapest option around, but it does have something most of its competitors don’t: cable management. 

Belkin included an area for you to keep your charging cable so it doesn’t fly around your car when you aren’t using it, and it’s surprisingly effective.

Beyond the cable management component, there isn’t an awful lot to the Belkin Car Vent Mount and that isn’t a bad thing at all. What it does, it does well and that’s to hold a phone steady while you drive.

Similar to the iOttie CD Slot Mount, the Belkin accessory is small and slim enough that it doesn’t stand out even when it isn’t being used. That also means that your air vent will remain at least somewhat useful, even when the mount is in the way.

Read the full Belkin Car Vent Mount review

iOttie Easy One Touch 5 Smartphone Car Mount review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. iOttie Easy One Touch 5 Smartphone Car Mount

Proving suction cups don't have to be terrible

Specifications
Price: $30
Wireless Charging: No
Color: Black
Orentiation: Portrait and Landscape
Design: Suction Cup
Reasons to buy
+You don’t lose any air vents+Once attached it will definitely stay that way+Putting your phone into the holder is a cinch+The telescopic arm gives you more flexibility than other mounts
Reasons to avoid
-Getting the mount off the dash can be a real battle-Pretty big and can get in the way when not in use-As good as that suction cup is, you still need a surface to attach it to

We’ll preface this by saying that a lot of people don’t normally rate phone holders with suction cups. They can be finicky and it’s easy to worry they’ll detach from whatever they’re mounted to — whether that’s the windscreen or the dash. But the iOttie Easy One Touch 5 is different and instils confidence in a way few other mounts do. That’s all thanks to its large suction cup that is, frankly, absurdly strong.

Once mounted, an extendable arm means you should be able to put your phone where you want it, bringing it within reach. You can’t change the angle of that arm, though, so you’ll need to have the whole thing pointing in the right direction. That might be an issue, depending on your car’s layout.

Like some of the best mounts, this one holds your phone rock steady when you’re driving around, and putting the device into the holder is a simple one-handed affair. People with huge phones should be good to go thanks to the three-point mounting system that can be moved at will.

Read the full iOttie Easy One Touch 5 review

Sandmarc Active Car Mount review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Sandmarc Active Car Mount

For the people who want magnetic charging

Specifications
Price: $60
Wireless Charging: Up to 7.5W
Color: Silver
Orientation: Vertical
Type: Vent
Reasons to buy
+Strong magnets to hold your phone steady+Charges your phone while you drive+Looks the part, unlike some cheaper options+Come with a charging cable in the box
Reasons to avoid
-Arguably on the pricey side-Works best with iPhone 12 and MagSafe, needs a magnet to use it-Clip mechanism means you need something to attach it to

If charging your iPhone while on the move is your game, the Sandmarc Active Car Mount is the place to look first. Featuring MagSafe, the holder is only compatible with Apple’s more recent iPhones. But its use of MagSafe means it’s one of the better-looking holders we tested.

In terms of charging, the Sandmarc holder is limited to 7.5W, so it isn’t true MagSafe as such. The magnets are super strong, however, and I didn’t have any issues in terms of movement during testing.

Like so many holders, this one attaches to your air vent using a clip that can be adjusted in all directions — so it’ll work no matter which orientation your vents happen to be in.

Read the full Sandmarc Active Phone Mount review

YOSH magnetic car phone mount review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. YOSH Car Phone Mount Holder Magnetic Air Vent

The cheap and cheerful option

Specifications
Price: $11
Wireless Charging: No
Color: Black
Orientation: 360-degree
Type: Vent
Reasons to buy
+The magnets are strong and your phone won’t budge from the holder+Almost invisible when you aren’t using it+Comes with multiple magnets in the box so you can use two phones with it
Reasons to avoid
-You’ll lose an air vent-The mount won’t charge your phone and magnets don’t support MagSafe

If the absolute smallest holder you can find is all you need, the YOSHI magnetic mount is for you. As small as a coin, this little thing is surprisingly powerful thanks to the magic of magnets. It’s cheap as well, costing as little as $11.

The only potential issue with this holder is the fact you need to affix a disc to the back of your phone — something for the magnets to attach to, basically. It can make the back of your phone look a little untidy, but the mount itself is more than good enough at its job to make that a minor issue. Despite being so small, an iPhone 12 Pro was kept firmly in place by the grip of the magnets — which is seriously impressive.

Sometimes cheap and cheerful is all you need and this YOSH holder is the epitome of that.

Read the full Yosh Magnetic Car Phone Mount review

popsocket popmount car phone mount

(Image credit: Popsocket)

7. PopSockets PopMount 2 Car Dash

The quirky option.

Specifications
Price: $30
Wireless Charging: No
Color: Black
Type: Suction cup
Reasons to buy
+The only phone holder designed specifically for your PopGrip +You don’t need to remove the PopGrip to use your phone in your car +Works with just about any PopGrip on the market today. 
Reasons to avoid
-Useless if you don’t use a PopGrip, so you’re stuck in that ecosystem. -Some might prefer a different mounting method. 

If you’re someone who uses a PopSocket to make their huge phone less unwieldy, putting it into a car phone holder can be an issue. As you might expect, the PopSockets people have an answer to that in the form of the PopMount 2 Car Dash holder.

A suction cup affair that attaches to your dashboard, the PopMount 2 is simple in its use. With the holder in place, simply extend your PopSocket and slide it into the mount on the holder. It's that simple

The PopSockets PopMount 2 Car Dash holder has a strong suction cup that should do the trick on most dashboards. The angle of the phone can also be adjusted, and it’s a relatively good-looking bit of kit even when there’s no phone in it — plus its design means it can be folded away when not in use. If you use a PopSocket, this is the one for you.

What to look for in a car phone holder

What you need in a phone holder might be unique to you. But in its most basic form a phone holder needs to hold your phone in the right position and in a way that ensures it won’t move too much when you’re on the road. If it does that, it’s off to a good start.

From there you need to find one that fits where you need it to fit, whether that’s into an air vent, onto your windscreen or dashboard, or somewhere else. You’ll also need to take your phone’s unique qualities into account, like if it has MagSafe or you need something that can accommodate a PopSocket or similar stand. This roundup covers all bases and there should be an option for everyone right here.

How we test car phone holders

Each of the car phone mounts in this roundup have been tested in the same car and, where possible, with the same iPhone 12 Pro.

Testing begins with making sure the holder itself is able to find a solid grip on whatever part of the car it’s supposed to attach to — windscreen, air vent, etc — and that it will hold a phone in place while driving.

From there, it’s a case of seeing how easily a phone can be inserted and removed, how well any movable parts work, and whether any additional features do their jobs well.

Finally, some car phone holders are more conspicuous than others, which is a pain when you don’t always keep your phone in them. If a mount is particularly huge or disappears when not in use, it’s called out.